Posted by Colin Heggie on Oct 26, 2021
Teresa Durning Harker introduced Steve Fleck, Executive Director of our Greater Vernon Museum & Archives.  Steve has an education background, having been a teacher & administrator, including work for an English school in China.  He’s also a part-time instructor in Human Resources at Okanagan College.  He explained that the museum had a 2019 financial challenge, due to reduced visits, largely a result of Covid-19 restrictions.  For 2020, their budget anticipated continuing low revenue from visitors, so it wasn’t a surprise when that happened.  Meanwhile, they engaged Cuyler Page, a highly experience museum & exhibit designer/ interpreter/ consultant, to produce a new children’s area.  The museum has worked hard to develop & enhance their online presence, livestreaming & Zoom events, as well as forging deeper ties to local partners, including the Vernon Public Art Gallery, Okanagan Indian Band, O’Keefe Ranch, Silver Star Mountain Resort & Rail Trail Society, etc.  The museum holds over 40,000 historic photos & a huge collection of artifacts, which they’re increasingly sharing through virtual technology.  As a key partner in Greater Vernon’s plans for a new Cultural Centre, they anticipate more use of technology to share existing & new material.  Expect to hear more about the Cultural Centre in early 2022, as our community will be asked to renew their commitment to this exciting project, albeit with changes to the funding formula.  Steve stressed that progressive communities recognize financial investments in the arts & culture pay big dividends in attracting & retaining engaged & talented people.